Monday, February 5, 2018

In Memory of Stanley W. and Dorothy Stevens Thomas

My second cousin Stanley Thomas died in 2014; his wife, Dorothy Stevens Thomas, died last year. Here are their obituaries. (Thanks to my cousin Nancy Kinney for forwarding this information).

Obituary: Stanley W. Thomas, 91, of Moscow [Idaho] 
May 10, 2014
This obituary appeared in the Lewiston (ID) Tribune and the Moscow (ID) Pullman (WA) Daily News.

Longtime Moscow resident Stanley W. Thomas died peacefully at home Wednesday. He was 91.
Stan was born in Greenville Junction, Maine, on April 14, 1923, to Marian and Hayward Thomas. He graduated from Guilford High School in 1941 and from the University of Maine at Orono in 1947.

World War II interrupted his college education and despite his pacifist leanings, Stan volunteered for the Army Air Corps Reserve in 1943. As a transport pilot he flew Douglas C-47 aircraft over the Himalayan mountain range, or "The Hump" as it was often described.

Stan entered Boston University's School of Theology in 1947 receiving a seminary degree in 1950, and later completing his doctorate in Sociology of Religion.

During his graduate years, he married the love of his life, Dorothy Stevens of Kingston, N.H.

Stan was hired by the First United Methodist Church's Wesley Foundation in 1953 to work with University of Idaho students. In 1957, he became director of the Campus Christian Center, teaching courses in world religions, the Old and New Testament, ethics, and courtship and marriage, among others. He remained there until his retirement in 1989. His work at the CCC could not have been accomplished without the tireless assistance of his administrative secretary of 25 years, Yvonne Slutz. Some of his fondest memories of campus life were kindled in "The Burning Steak," during "the activist years" of the 1960s and '70s, where he developed lifelong bonds with many students.

Sometimes referred to as the "sad-eyed Bostonian," Thomas was active in politics and civic affairs. He was a member of Idaho's Human Rights Commission and was named the first recipient of the Rosa Parks Human Rights Achievement Award in 1994. A member of Moscow's Peace Band, Thomas could often be seen at community events playing his trumpet. He served on many UI committees and organizations.

Stan had numerous intellectual interests, including philosophy, modern political and social thought, social ethics and comparative religions. He had a passionate desire for the world to become a more peaceful place, and lived his life engaged in community participation and social action. Stan loved music, particularly classical and jazz.

His favorite place, in addition to New England, was his cabin at Glengary Bay on Lake Pend Oreille. Thanks to the Heitman family, many wonderful summers were spent with children and grandchildren fishing, sailing and canoeing on the scenic lake.

Stan is survived by his wife, Dorothy; his four children, Susan (married to Jay Shelledy), Julie (married to the late Bill Duncombe), Steven (married to Jeana Martin) and Robert; and seven grandchildren. A celebration of life will be noon Saturday, May 24, at the First United Methodist Church in Moscow.

You are invited to express your appreciation for Stan by actively participating in your community. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Campus Christian Center, 822 Elm in Moscow, and/or the War Resisters League, 339 Lafayette St., New York, NY 10012, or online at
Stan is survived by his wife, Dorothy; his four children, Susan (married to Jay Shelledy), Julie (married to the late Bill Duncombe), Steven (married to Jeana Martin) and Robert; and seven grandchildren. A celebration of life will be noon Saturday, May 24, at the First United Methodist Church in Moscow.

Moscow-Pullman Daily News
Dorothy Stevens Thomas, 92, of Moscow 

Jun 29, 2017

Dorothy Stevens Thomas, 92, died peacefully at her home in Moscow on Friday night, June 23, 2017.

Dorothy was born in 1925 on a dairy farm in southern New Hampshire, the oldest child of J. Edward and Anne Stevens. She graduated from Sanborn Seminary in 1943 and the University of New Hampshire in 1947, majoring in history.

Upon graduation she accepted a high school teaching position in Norton, Mass. She met her future husband, Stanley Thomas, when they both arrived late to a Student Ecumenical Christian Conference. They were married in Kingston, N.H., in 1949 and lived together for nearly 65 years, until Stan's death in 2014.

Following their marriage they moved to Boston, Mass., where Stan was completing his doctoral degree. Dorothy took a position at the Cokesbury Bookstore in the city, riding her bike to and from. Her memories of "17 Yarmouth," their studio apartment in Boston, were precious and dear.

In 1953 Stan accepted a position with the Wesley Foundation as a campus pastor, and they packed up their '47 Chevy and headed west to Moscow. She raised four children and returned to school earning a master's degree from the University of Idaho.

Her Katharine Hepburn-like looks and signature laugh often brought her unintended attention.

Civic engagement was always a priority in her life. She was active in the League of Women Voters, United Methodist Church, the Democratic Party, UNICEF, Faculty Discussion group and Garden Club. She was an avid reader and treasured her time with her book club and poetry group.

When Dorothy's macular degeneration impeded her ability to read, she took great pleasure in books on tape and was grateful to any and all who would read to her. She chose to live life "half full" and encouraged others to do the same.

Another passion was her garden. Blessed with a "green thumb," she enjoyed the beauty and fragrance nature provides. She was an excellent cook and enjoyed giving dinner parties. She understood the value of bringing people together to enjoy a delicious meal and lively discussion. Over the years, she and Stan opened their home to numerous students or anyone needing time to determine next steps in life.

She remained intellectually engaged to the end, paying astute attention to what was happening in our world. She was always ready to discuss the latest local, national and international issue of the day. She cared deeply about the planet, attentive to conservation, recycling and water use, with the possible exception of her garden.

Dorothy is survived by her brother, Alan Stevens of Kingston, N.H.; and sister, Lois Hatch of Brentwood, N.H. A brother, Lawrence Stevens, preceded her in death. She is survived by her four children, Susan Thomas Shelledy of Sandpoint, Julie Thomas Duncombe of Syracuse, N.Y., Steven Thomas of Lewiston and Robert Thomas of Moscow; as well as numerous grandchildren and one great-grandson.

A celebration of life will be scheduled later in the summer. Donations may be made to Sojourners, hospice or the charity of your choice.


My connection to Stanley:

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